College is the time when we set the stage for learning new skills and developing habits that could serve us later when we start our practical and professional life. But it is also the time when we build up our own social circle and do some serious partying and spend unrestrainedly on our guilty pleasures. As a result, most of the college students find it extremely hard to keep a balance between academic costs and personal expenses and pass the term smoothly staying in budget. Budgeting might sound boring and complicated (mission impossible for some) but all you need is to get a little organized and do some self-assessment to achieve your financial/saving goals. Listed below are some tips that could help you manage your college budget effectively.
1# Separate Needs from Wants
One of the most important and perhaps, the toughest part is separating needs from wants because wants turn rather swiftly in to needs, especially when the weekend arrives. So whenever you get stuck in separating these two, set your differential criteria this way; ‘Things I can’t survive without’, ‘Things I can survive without’ and weigh your college life requirements on this scale. This would require self-control and a serious focus to chalk down a neutral and honest list of your needs and wants. In a college budget, needs come first.
2# Set your Budget Time Frame
Once the hard part of budgeting is over, the next step is to set a certain time frame for your budget. You need to decide whether you are planning it for a semester, a month or a college year. This will help you create a more practical budget.
3# List your Expenses
The next step involves listing down all your expenses, but this should be done systematically; meaning that you should first write down all the costs of the things that come under your “Things I can’t survive without” or simply “Needs” category and then go about listing other expenses. One important point to consider here is that you should list expenses for your chosen time frame, so suppose if you are making a monthly budget, don’t include weekly expenses even if you make weekly payments, multiply by 4 and note the monthly expense.
4# Balancing Expenses
If your total expense is exceeding your monthly budget, you need to review the list and cut down some expenses that are not so necessary and without which you can still manage. Some people would think an ideal college budget is when your expenses total equals your budget. However, this isn’t the case. To make an ideal budget, you need to make sure that you still have some money left in pocket after paying for all those expenses so that you can pay for any emergency that arises during the college term and don’t have to rely on taking loans.